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Brunch on the Balcony at Brickroom

When I learned Brickroom in Ashland, one of my favorite local restaurants, now offers my favorite meal — brunch — I took great interest.

Back in February, I praised Brickroom for its use of uncommon flavors on its dinner menu, as well as its hip, laid-back surroundings on the Ashland Plaza, at 35 N. Main St., Ashland. The brunch menu, available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, offers more than 20 choices that should satisfy a variety of palates and diets, from bagel and lox to chicken and waffles, with a twist on biscuits and gravy somewhere in between. There's plenty of interesting fare to try.

My friend and I decided to have Saturday brunch on the balcony. Overlooking Calle Guanajuato, with the sounds of the Lithia Artisans Market and Ashland Creek below us, we were seated at a table with stylish, woven, black-and-white checked seats. The setting is idyllic for a nice meal outdoors in Ashland.

I went for the My Jam Potatoes and Eggs ($7), which topped cottage-fried potatoes with poached cage-free eggs and a savory saute of minced bacon and onion. Served in a small cast-iron skillet, the potatoes were crispy without being overdone and the eggs were poached to yolky perfection.  Served with a side of lightly dressed mixed greens, the dish was balanced, albeit a little light on meat. I'd definitely order it again.

My friend went for the Huevos Rancheros ($10.50), one of his favorite dishes wherever he goes. He was pleased with Brickroom's take. The dish tops crispy Mazina tortillas with black beans, queso fresco and white cheddar, eggs sunny side up, piquillo chili sauce, and garnished with chives and baby cilantro. I tried a bite, and although I still prefer a corn tortilla, the grilled flour/corn Mazina blend along with the dish's fresh breaks from the tried-and-true make this a worthy twist.

I joined another friend the next day to try something on the sweeter side, the Malted Waffles ($7), served with peanut butter whipped cream and black tea syrup. I liked the waffles' malty flavor and the sweet peanut butter infusion for the whipped cream. The syrup, however, is an idea I'd like to see developed further. The black tea tasted a little basic to me, a la Lipton. It does a good job of cutting down the sweetness with an earthy note, but I think it might work better with a little Earl Grey in the mix. It's possible it just wasn't my cup of (ahem) tea. Even if I'd choose something else next time, I think the waffles are a good pick for sweet-leaning brunchers or kids with simpler palates.

My friend on my second visit went for the Brioche Breakfast Sandwich, ($7.50), which included his choice of meat (he chose bacon), chili aoli and sharp Tillamook white cheddar cheese. He admitted he was picking nits as he said this, but he found the very sharp cheddar overpowered the sandwich's other interesting flavors. That wouldn't stop him from ordering it again, though.

While prices are reasonable, portions are on the small side. I didn't mind with enough bold Noble coffee in me, and sometimes it's nice to eat a nice meal without needing to waddle out, but hungry diners may want to share another entree or add a side.

The semi-casual nature of brunch is a great fit for Brickroom's atmosphere. Prices are reasonable, ingredients are interesting, and the environment is lively, and it's a worthy choice any day of the week.

Cottage-fried potatoes and poached cage-free eggs are topped with a savory saute of minced bacon and onion for brunch at Brickroom in Ashland. Mail Tribune / Nick Morgan